A suspected serious knee injury to rookie forward Mark Scheifele could dampen the Winnipeg Jets’ playoff hopes and force general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to act prior to Wednesday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.
Early reports suggested Scheifele suffered damage to the medial collateral ligament in his knee in the second period of Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss on Tuesday after colliding knee-on-knee with New York Islanders defenceman Calvin de Haan and will be sidelined six to eight weeks.
Scheifele, who has 25 points in his last 35 games, will be evaluated by the Jets' medical staff on Wednesday.
Should the 20-year-old centre be out for an extended period, Winnipeg would have Bryan Little, Olli Jokinen, Eric O’Dell and Jim Slater down the middle.
"We’re going to wait and see what the evaluation is that comes back [Wednesday] morning and try and keep all our options open," Cheveldayoff told TSN. "We’ve positioned ourselves throughout the days coming into this to be able to react in a bunch of different ways. This obviously goes to show that things can change relatively quickly.
"We’ll wait for the results and then we’ll act accordingly."
Scheifele has 11 points in Winnipeg’s last 16 games in which it sports an 11-3-2 record and 34 points in 63 games overall. The Kitchener, Ont., native had a dreadful start to the season with only five points in his first 25 games.
The Jets entered play Wednesday in 10th place in the Western Conference with a 30-26-7 record and 67 points, one point back of eighth-place Dallas, which has a game in hand.